How can we begin to heal the world?

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If we are to help heal the world, we need to remember that it is a sacred place.

Our actions need to be positive statements, reminders that even in the worst times there is a world worth struggling for. We need to find ways to keep the vision alive, to acknowledge but not get caught in the dark side. To remember that even the worst aspects of suffering are only part of the whole picture. We need to enter lightly.

Entering lightly means not ignoring suffering but treating it gently.

We don’t want to ignore another’s pain, but our becoming depressed or angry about it doesn’t relieve it and may increase it. The delicate balance is in allowing ourselves to feel the pain fully, to be sad or angry or hurt by it, but not be so weighted down by it that we are unable to act to relieve it. It is a matter of ends and means again: to create a caring, loving, peaceful world, we need to act with care and love and peace.

Easy to say, you may think, remembering your heavy hearts, tears, and anger when you first saw babies in Ethiopian refugee camps dying from malnutrition. But it is exactly at these times – in the presence of pain, injustice, and horror – that our equilibrium is most needed. How can we keep it? Meditation can help; singing or walking can help; talking with people we respect can help; simply being quiet with ourselves can help.

It is the continuing work of life: of learning to trust that the universe is unfolding exactly as it should, no matter how it looks to us. We learn to appreciate that each of us has a part in nurturing this interconnectedness whole and healing it where it is torn. Discovering what our individual contribution can be, then giving ourselves fully to it.

Demanding as that sounds, it is what, in the spiritual sense, we are all here for, and compassionate action gives us yet one more opportunity to live it. It is an opportunity to cooperate with the universe. To be part of what the Chinese call the great river of the Tao. It is not a coincidence that Hanuman, who in the Hindu cosmology is called the “embodiment of selfless service,” is the son of the wind god. When we give ourselves into becoming fully who we are by doing fully what we do, we experience lightness. We are like kites in wind, we are on the side of the angels, we are entering lightly.



This article was originally published on RamDass.Org


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Ram Dass is an American spiritual teacher and author of many books such as Be Here Now and Walking Each Other Home.

Your Yoga Mat is God (and so is everything else)

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By Anya Light

 

I’ve been thinking about yoga mats, lately. The yoga mat I currently own (which I picked up for a few bucks at a grocery store) is not that wonderful. It’s a piece of crap, actually. I need better traction. It’s frustrating trying to hold downward dog correctly when my hands are slip-sliding all over the place!

 

Recently, the Universe magically brought me into a lovely email exchange with Jericka Lambourne, writer and researcher over at Reviews.com. And I discovered her recent geek-fest with yoga mats.

 

Seriously, someone should give this woman a PhD in Yoga Mats! She spent over fifty hours testing over thirty different mats in various temperatures and conditions, such as carpet and hardwood floor; interviewing yoga teachers and studio owners; and researching the technology and history of various brands.

 

If a yoga mat is on your Christmas list this year, I recommend checking out Jericka’s research. It’s pretty cool.

 

 

THE FALSE DISTINCTION BETWEEN SPIRITUALITY AND THE MUNDANE

 

Why the heck am I talking about yoga mats? Isn’t this supposed to be a “spiritual” blog?

 

Too often in our spiritual journey we make the distinction between the mundane and the spiritual. Between the material and the spiritual. Real life versus everything else. Consensus reality versus higher ideals. 3D versus higher consciousness. And yet what does all this labeling and categorizing really accomplish? Does it truly help us?

 

Sometimes these mental distinctions can actually get in the way of living our lives in the most authentic way possible. Sometimes these categorizations can actually block us from experiencing flow and harmony.

 

I honor and deeply appreciate how external “things” can often aid in the enjoyment of life. A shiny new outfit can bring a burst of confidence during a job interview. A new knife can bring an added sense of ease and harmony to the cooking process. A new pillow made with organic materials can bring higher vibrational dreams. Crystals in the home can serve to protect and rejuvenate empathic people. And a quality yoga mat can help us hold certain postures more deeply—which is a very good thing!

 

Is it materialistic that I (or you) might want a new yoga mat? No, not unless such a wanting takes over and becomes a compulsive obsession. Is it materialistic that you or I might want financial abundance or awesome tools that increase the possibilities of physical health or emotional peace? No, not unless such preferences take us away from the enjoying the present moment of exactly where and how we are right now.

 

 

THE AWESOMENESS OF EVERYDAY LIFE

 

In my view, the objects of “everyday life” can certainly be enjoyed, relished, and savored—with mindfulness.

 

Perhaps this is more of an advanced lesson than some would like. That’s okay. If what feels right to you at this time is shunning the entire monetary system altogether and making a beeline for the nearest commune, monastery or cave, that’s okay. But if you are where I am, maybe the thing for you to do is to strike that oh-so-delicate balance between “the mundane” and “the spiritual.”

 

When we think about the worth or value of an object like a yoga mat, we must remember that objects are not just objects…they are more. Every plant, animal, mineral, person, and supposedly “inanimate” object is made up of chiti (a Sanskrit term meaning consciousness). Everything is alive. Indigenous cultures have known this forever, and if you’ve ever participated in a plant medicine ceremony or a shamanic journey, you’ll have had direct experience with this truth.

 

Every part of the Universe, from the tiniest atom to the brightest star, is a living reflection of the Divine Source. Everything is God.

 

While it is certainly good to avoid being trapped by the shallow mindsets of our overly-materialist mainstream society, it can be just as detrimental to remain ignorant of the power that objects have to affect our consciousness. We are all energy. Each thing has life, a vibrational force that subtly (or greatly) affects us. For example: if we fail to take care of our possessions and allow our home to become dirty, dusty, and cluttered, we will feel this as a certain subtle heaviness in our daily lives, a certain sadness or dullness. If, on the other hand, we take care of our living environment with regular tidiness and cleaning, then there will be more flow, order, and peace in our daily lives.

 

The external is the internal; the internal is the external.

 

All is one.

 

Everything is spiritual.

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As you go about your week, I invite you to share with us (in the comments below) about how the objects in your reality have blessed you, assisted in your journey. I invite you to share with us your gratitude.

 

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